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The Future and Purpose of Technology in Education

The Future of Technology in Education - Article Title Image

author: Tony Traveis

The purpose of education is to teach and have a meaningful knowledge transfer that has longevity and provides utility. Technology in itself is not education but instead adds great value in expediting and facilitating the process of learning.

Recently I considered renting an iPad versus purchasing one and here is an interesting quote from that research:

If history teaches us anything ”If history teaches us anything, soon Apple will announce their next generation of iPads. With technology changing this quickly, more and more users are finding that the value of technology is in its use and not in its ownership.” – ipad-rental.com

Furthermore, many forms of knowledge transfer are now becoming video based and tailored to mobile and handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets such as iPad and Kindle Fire. The trend in the design community is that we as professional designers are having to apply best practices and design standards to be scalable and accurate unto 3 predominant screen sizes being HDTV, Computer Screen, Smartphone screen. The printed page has been around for thousands of years and has proven effective page layout standards while the internet and electronic documents are in their infancy. As graphic designers and publishers, we are challenged to maintain coherent page layout design standards that are scalable to a multitude of screen sizes on today’s mobile devices while maintaining aesthetic quality and legibility.

Furthermore, User Experience and Usability are now becoming extremely important to any software application’s success. If the interface isn’t well throughout and tested for intuitiveness and usability the end user may find it too difficult to navigate and thus abandon the application due to frustration and/or tediousness. Thus, the resources that went into the software application’s development would be void and what’s worse is that the potential would be lost for important knowledge to be disseminated and benefit those seeking to learn.

As part of NSU’s initiatives to be more innovative, I believe my current knowledge, skills, and abilities as a web developer and designer could provide a wealth of utility in helping to develop screen layouts and navigational interfaces that would best fit tablet devices based upon historically proven effective navigational interfaces but simplifying and hopefully standardizing the approach toward developing menu structures for tablet devices.

It is my prediction that more and more schools are going to begin delivering content to students via iPad tablets. Upon entering the classroom, the students could pickup an iPad with that day’s lesson prepared by the teacher already downloaded to the device. With on-screen applications, video tutorials,  and internet access, the iPad device instantly becomes an interactive textbook and many textbook publishers are focusing on the iPad as a means for textbook distribution because content can be easily updated at a fraction of the cost of reprinting the textbook. It should be noted that Encyclopedia Britannica recently announced they would no longer be printing their encyclopedias. Electronic versions of the encyclopedia were deemed much more cost effective, affordable and easily updatable thus keeping the content current and as accurate as possible.

In summary, I believe a standard is going to emerge for menu and content layout as well as the sequencing of information via handheld tablet devices. Considering how much research and development Microsoft put into their taskbar, toolbars, and menus for their Graphical User Interface, I predict the same efforts will be given to provide the best GUI for tablet sized devices and the intuitive flow of menu structures that are content-aware and provide, as well as suggest, the most appropriate menu items based on the user’s interest, experience level, and desired expertise on the topic.

Useful resource articles:
http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_matas.html
http://allthingsd.com/20110602/d9-tech-demo-inkling/
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_25/b4233043963930.htm
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-06-17-digital-textbooks_n.htm
https://www.inkling.com/blog/education-everyone/
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/06/watch-out-print-textbooks-here-comes-inkling/

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